Nvidia reports record revenue but shares soften on flat outlook

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Fresh off a year in which it was the best performing stock on the S&P 500, chipmaker Nvidia on Thursday said it notched a new record for full-year revenue in 2016. Nevertheless, the company’s shares traded lower after hours as it projected a small drop in sales for the upcoming quarter.

The company said that revenue from the most recent quarter came in at $2.17bn, a 55 per cent year-on-year increase and slightly over the $2.1bn predicted by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Full-year revenues for 2016 were $6.9bn, a 38 per cent improvement from the year earlier. Both figures represented record highs, it said.

Net income came in at $655m, translating to earnings per share of 99 cents, versus expectations of a $536.6m profit and earnings per share of 83.6 cents.

Despite the solid beat, Nvidia’s shares reflected investors’ disappointment in its guidance for slightly lower revenue of $1.9bn in the coming quarter, plus or minus about 2 per cent.

Nvidia called the results a “great finish to a record year”. Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia’s founder and chief executive, said that the company’s graphics processing unit (GPU) has seen “rapid adoption in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, gaming, and autonomous vehicles.”

Nvidia is riding high after it surfed a late-year rally to become the top-performing stock on the S&P 500 by a wide margin. Over the past 12 months, its shares have soared a remarkable 363 per cent.

Nevertheless, the slightly bearish projection for sales next quarter — which will be the first of its fiscal year 2018 — suggests that it may have reached a plateau, for now, even as it eyes opportunities in next-generation technologies like self-driving cars, early cancer detection and weather prediction.

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